Inspiring, exploratory, historic, contemporary, modern, curious, derelict…queue-y, nerdy. It can only be the annual architecture poke-about London Open House! We’ve edited their huge programme and listed the highlights below in loose locations. You’ve got a fine combination of crazed pet cats, crazier architects, jobsworths, grandeur and minimalism to look forward to. Just pick your best socks to wear, because it’s shoes off.
*Disclaimer* We’ve not been to all the contemporary private openings, but we’ve just included them because they’re new – not that new necessarily means good of course…Some of this year’s crackers include Wandsworth Prison, Crystal Palace Victorian underpass, Neasden Bunker, the Reform Club, FCO, Battersea Power Station, The Apothecary and Vintner Halls, Middle Temple…take note of any requirements to book in advance.
Images: Crystal Palace Subway (credit: Mark Blundell), Reform Club, Townhall Hotel, Vintners Hall, Gingerbread House, Ed’s Shed, Artchive, The Jewell House, Wandsworth Prison, 151 Church Walk.
Read on for our select highlights – words credited to Open House.
New West End Synagogue
St Petersburgh Place, W2 4JT, London, England
Magnificent Grade I listed high Victorian synagogue, Audsley’s masterpiece building. Includes metalwork, stained glass and a mosaic by Audsley; stained glass by NHJ Westlake. Further enrichment 1894/5 included ornate lighting believed to have been designed by George Aitchison.
12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ, London, England
Originally home and studio of Lord Leighton, President of the Royal Academy, the house is one of the most remarkable buildings of 19C. Extraordinary Arab hall with fountains and tiling; superb staircase. Recently the subject of a ð1.6m refurbishment project, the work involved extensive repairs to the original fabric of the house as well as the redecoration of the interiors. RIBA Award Winner 2011.
Sat / Sun 10-5pm
151 Talgarth Road, W14 9DA, London, England
Unique building for artists with three large studios, all with north light through expansive windows.
30 Cardozo Road
30 Cardozo Road, N7 9RL, London, England
A partially subterranean house, designed to give generous accomodation on a small plot while preserving the long views across the site from the street.
39 Frognal – Kate Greenaway Studio
39 Frognal, NW3 6YD, London, England
A substantial studio-house originally built for illustrator Kate Greenaway; the painting studio is turned through 45 degrees to catch the north light. Now the studio of artist John Aldus.
The Jewel Box
5a Gerrard Road, N1 8AY, London, England
Conceived as a series of jewelled boxes carefully inserted into the existing fabric, the design opens up and revitalises what was a series of dark disjointed spaces. Sustainable features include Scottish Larch, green roofs, super insulation and rainwater storage.
Half-hourly tours, pre-book ONLY by email on email@example.com.
27 Gerard Road, N1 8AY, London, England
Lower ground extension within conservation area, restoring a large ground floor garden and adding significant living space. Light filters in through floor and internal courtyard.
8a Belsize Court Garages
8a Belsize Court Garages, NW3 5AJ, London, England
Originally a late 19C coachman’s living quarters and stable, this mews house combines an award-winning architect’s studio and spacious light-filled maisonette after a 2-phase retrofit.
Artchive – Philip Hughes Studio
62 Rochester Place, NW1 9JX, London, England
Private gallery and art archive. Mews workshop converted to artist’s studio/summerhouse. Uses mirrors and glazed surfaces to produce theatrical distortion of spaces. Mezzanine studio carpeted in red, double-height garden room, wedge-shaped glazing. Rear connects to garden with spa. RIBA Award Winner 2005.
Highpoint One, North Hill, N6 4BA, London, England
Grade I listed Modernist apartment blocks retaining many original features.
Regular tours, pre-book ONLY at https://ohlhighpoint.eventbrite.co.uk from 1 Sep.
2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road, NW3 1TH, London, England
Goldfinger’s unique Modernist home, largely in original condition. The house, which has 3 floors at the front and 4 at the back, is designed for flexibility, efficient use of space and good day-lighting. Complete with fittings and furniture designed by Goldfinger and an impressive modern art collection including works by Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Henry Moore and Bridget Riley.
44 Willoughby Road
44 Willoughby Road, NW3 1RU, London, England
New-build open-plan studio house designed as a floating box with integrated gardens on each level and mesh screens for privacy and sun control. Sustainable features include heat pump, PV panels and water collection. RIBA Award Winner 2012.
Sat 1-5pm, Sun 10-1pm
52 Whitmore Road
52 Whitmore Road, N1 5QG, London, England
This mixed use building on Regents Canal illustrates the structural capabilities of the cross laminated timber structure, and is clad in British Sweet Chestnut. Other sustainable features include brown roofs, excellent thermal performance and air tightness.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirandir
105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, NW10 8LD, London, England
Masterpiece of traditional Hindu design and exquisite workmanship that rises serenely amid London’s iconic skyline. Using 5000 tonnes of Italian Carrara and Indian Ambaji marble and the finest Bulgarian limestone, it was hand-carved in India before being assembled in London.
26 Whitehall and Admiralty House
Ripley Courtyard, 26 Whitehall SW1A 2DY, SW1A 2WH, London, England
Grade I listed former Old Admiralty Building, behind Robert Adam’s Admiralty Screen on Whitehall. Now owned by Department for International Development and Cabinet Office; works of art and antiques from Ministry of Defence Art Collection.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street, SW1A 2AH, London, England
Grade I listed Victorian government office buildings. Former India Office includes the magnificently decorated Durbar Court.
60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ, London, England
Monumental classical exterior belying elaborate and varied interior decoration: extensive use of mosaic, stained glass, decorated ceilings and lighting.
Argentine Ambassador’s Residence
49 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8QZ, London, England
Known as the ‘Independent North Mansion’ and christened by Sydney Herbert as ‘Belgrave Villa’ and then simply ‘The Villa’ by his successor the 6th Duke of Richmond. Owned by Argentina since 1936 and with sumptuous interiors still intact.
104 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5EW, London, England
Built as a Whig gentleman’s club and inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces. Lobby leads to an enclosed colonnaded courtyard with ‘complementary’ glazed roof and tessellated floor. Tunnelled staircase leads to upper floor.
Sat 10-5pm, Sun 10-3pm
Pre-book ONLY by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government Art Collection
Queen’s Yard, 179a Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PA, London, England
Guided tour of premises and behind-the-scenes look at how this major collection of British art operates. The viewing area will be hung with works reflecting this year’s theme ‘Celebrating Architecture, People and Place’.
Tours on the hour. Duration 45 mins. Pre-book ONLY on 020 7580 9120 or www.gac.culture.gov.uk/openhouse2013.html
4 Bayer House
Golden Lane Estate, EC1Y 0RN, London, England
Part of Golden Lane Estate which was the first public housing to be listed. A maisonette with many of the original detail and finishes.
Half-hourly tours, first come basis. Closed between 1pm and 2pm.
Town Hall Hotel & Apartments
Patriot Square, E2 9NF, London, England
Beautiful redevelopment of former Grade II listed town hall incorporating sensitive contemporary design complementing the original Edwardian/Art Deco features. A modern extension is covered in a metal laser-cut ‘skin’, in a pattern inspired by the Art Deco metal ornamentation still evident in the remaining council chamber. RIBA Award Winner 2011.
2 Nevill Road, N16 8SR, London, England
A unique mews property which has undergone a complete retrofit where both architects designed and built the entire scheme themselves. The small house has a surprising amount of playful elements with sliding walls, hidden storage and contrasting materials.
The Floating Cinema
Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS, London, England
An extraordinary new floating structure design by Duggan Morris Architects in partnership with artists and filmmakers Nina Pope and Karent Guthrie.
On-board film screenings all day. Pre-book ONLY on www.floatingcinema.info.
24 Bateman’s Row
24 Bateman’s Row, EC2A 3HH, London, England
RIBA award-winning modern multi-use building in the heart of Shoreditch, comprising two commercial spaces and two living residencies, showing only the multi-level residence with outdoor space.
Ed’s Shed/Sunken House
75a De Beauvoir Road, N1 4EL, London, England
A cube clad in a cedar rainscreen, stained black – a single slot window at the front is all that indicates this is a house. The entire site was excavated to basement level in order to create the sunken foundation on which the house for Ed Reeve architectural photographer, now sits. Hemp insulation improves the thermal performance of the structure while the solid timber frame provides a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
104 Balcorne Street, E9 7AU, London, England
Award-winning new build house on site of former box factory with clever use of volumes and daylight, despite the physical constraints of a small urban plot.
71 Greenwood Road
71 Greenwood Road, E8 1NT, London, England
Complete refurbishment of an 1870s house to provide flexible accommodation for a family of 5. Environmental improvements have been made to increase energy efficiency. Sustainable features include PV panels, solar thermal panels and LED lighting.
151 Church Walk
151 Church Walk, N16 8QW, London, England
Unusual contemporary infill development of 4 dwellings on a tight site, one occupied by two of the architects. Imaginatively reconciled to make an elegant, neighbourly scheme.
Half-hourly tours, pre-book ONLY on https://churchwalk.eventbrite.co.uk
Wandsworth Prison Museum
27 Heathfield Road, SW18 3HR, London, England
Built in the Victorian grand design, a radial pattern of wings and landings from a central point with an impressive gatehouse.
General access to museum Sat/Sun 10am-12pm & 2pm-4pm. Tour to prison Sat/Sun 12.30pm, pre-book tour ONLY on email@example.com. Visitors must be aged over 18 and have valid photo ID. No cameras or phones permitted inside prison.
Battersea Power Station
Access via new power station park: approaching from Chelsea, cross over Chelsea Bridge and proceed down the stairs on the left, SW8 5BN, London, England
Hosting site visits as part of Open House for the first time and the last opportunity to see one of London’s most iconic buildings before it undergoes a vibrant redevelopment across the full 38 acre site.
35 Dovedale Road, SE22 0NF, London, England
Single-storey courtyard house on constrained site, built out to the perimeter whilst providing light and private views to the habitable rooms and avoiding overlooking of the surrounding properties. Bathrooms are located along the street facade with opaque glass windows to provide a buffer zone between the living space and the pavement.
Crystal Palace Subway
Crystal Palace Parade, SE19 1LG, London, England
Magnificent subway built by Italian craftsmen resembling a vaulted crypt. Part of the Crystal Palace High Level Railway system demolished in 1961.
Regular tours. Pre-book ONLY by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
11a Sydenham Hill, SE26 6SH, London, England
Combining a rich palette of traditional and vernacular materials with a contemporary understanding of detail and space, this house proposes a new vision of domesticity based on craft, tactility and light.
Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5ET, London, England
One of very few windmills in London. Built 1816 when Brixton Hill was open fields and a working mill until 1934. Restored to working order 2011.
Half-hourly tours, duration 40 mins, max 3 per tour, pre-book ONLY on 07587 170 029.
Southwest corner of Southwark Park, SE16 2DD, London, England
A former Clare College mission church, now contemporary art gallery and recently renovated, was the first concrete-poured building in England, now Grade II listed. 2010 renovation by Walter Menteth & Sherry Bates.
16a Kings Grove
16a Kings Grove, SE15 2NB, London, England
The building sits in an unusual setting, tucked behind a traditional Victorian street terrace benefiting from unusual views across the adjacent gardens. Meticulously detailed using bricks as the predominant material and large glazed panels to maximise the light levels and views.
22 Weardale Road
22 Weardale Road, SE13 5QB, London, England
Contemporary 3-storey dwelling on a triangular site designed to respond to the street scene and provide an end to the row of existing terraced houses. Overlooking the River Quaggy it incorporates a roof garden, double-height space and an open-plan living arrangement.
6 Pond Cottages
6 Pond Cottages, College Road, SE21 7LE, London, England
Grade II listed late 17C weather-boarded workers’ cottage which has been restored by the current owners, an interior stylist/designer and developer. Although the original part of the property retains its cottage charm, a new extension together with tropical planting in the garden gives it a modern twist.
Crossrail Liverpool Street Construction Sites
Crossrail Moorgate Site on Moorfields, EC2Y 9AA, London, England
The Moorgate site has seen excavation of 60m deep access shaft for west ticket hall. A walk through Finsbury Circus follows the route of platform tunnels. Liverpool Street shows the construction of the utilities corridor.
Middle Temple Hall
Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT, London, England
London’s finest surviving Elizabethan Hall (1562), 101ft long and 41ft wide, highly atmospheric, with double hammerbeam roof, screen and notable paintings. 17C and 20C additions.
Upper Thames Street, EC4V 3BG, London, England
Built immediately after the Great Fire, the Hall is an outstanding example of mid 17C craftsmanship. Richly panelled and with a magnificently carved staircase, it contains paintings, plates, charters and other treasures dating back to 14C. It is, quite rightly, known as the spiritual home of the wine trade.
City Alleyways to Liverpool Street Station
Meet: outside Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE, London, England
A contrasting itinerary going eastwards passing some Wren churches and Tower 42 to Broadgate, finishing at Liverpool Street Station. Walk led by qualified City of London guide.
Sat/Sun 10.40-3.40pm. Half-hourly tours. Duration approx 1 1/2 hours.
4 Brabant Court
Philpot Lane, 4 Brabant Court, EC3M 8AD, London, England
One of the finest examples of early 18th century architecture in the City of London. 4 Brabant Court, which is owned by Marlin Apartments was restored earlier this year allowing a new life as an events, meeting and dining space. The project won the prestigious 2013 City Heritage Award.
Tours at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm. pre-book ONLY on BrabantCourtOpenHouse@marlinapartments.com.
Gresham Street, EC2V 7HH, London, England
The City’s seat of municipal government since 12C. Grade I listed, rare example of Medieval civic architecture with post-war extensions and rebuilding.
Penthouse flat, The Print House
32 Aylesbury Street, EC1R 0ET, London, England
Penthouse apartment over 2 floors of converted and extended former print works with large open-plan living/dining/cooking space featuring helical stair within top-lit polished plaster drum. Winner ‘Best Apartment’ Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2013.
Regular tours, pre-book ONLY on 020 7407 3336.
Black Friars Lane, EC4V 6EJ, London, England
A courtyard building with some of the best-preserved 17C livery hall interiors, on the site of the Blackfriars Priory on which the original hall burnt down in 1666.